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5 January 2022

This England: Expensive taste

This column – which, though named after a line in Shakespeare’s “Richard II”, refers to the whole of Britain – has run in the NS since 1934.

By New Statesman

A picky pet hamster has developed a taste for Waitrose Essential Extra Mature British Cheddar, strength six, turning his nose up at all other cheeses.

The hamster’s owner Jo Le Page, from Guernsey, said: “I know hamsters aren’t supposed to eat much dairy, but a little now and again is fine. But after he had some from Waitrose, he turned up his nose at Iceland and Co-op cheese. It was amusing. He clearly knew and he walked away from it.

“People find it hilarious when I tell them.”

Daily Mirror (Amanda Welles)

Nerves of steel

A pensioner who has raised £250,000 for charity by balancing heavy objects on his head aims to notch up his 100th world record by his 75th birthday next year.

John Evans, from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, has won 98 medals for bearing loads – including a 30-stone stack of bricks and a Mini Cooper car, despite being diabetic, blind in one eye and an angina sufferer. He said: “I’ve never failed at anything yet.”

Metro (Daragh Brady)

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Room for improvement

The UK hospitality company Travelodge has revealed its strangest requests from hotel guests in 2021 – including staff being asked where the Welsh rarebit lives and to arrange an afternoon tea with pandas.

One guest asked what time they would be able to see the snake on the Snake Pass in Derbyshire, Travelodge said. And another guest staying in York asked a member of staff to sing next door to check that they had a quiet room.

Sky News (Steve Morley)

Each printed entry receives a £5 book token. Entries to comp@newstatesman.co.uk or on a postcard to This England.

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This article appears in the 05 Jan 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Johnson's Last Chance